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Focus Areas

Communication Science

Clearing communication channels between patients and providers for better care

Communication interventions grounded in behavior change theories can substantially reduce risk factors for non-communicable diseases and improve population health. Social and cultural norms, along with individual experiences, perceptions, and attitudes play a role in the choices people make about diet, physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use; the four primary behaviors contributing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).  As NCD risk factors become more prevalent in low and middle-income countries, communication strategies- specific to socio-cultural and policy contexts – will be a critical component in changing health behaviors and improving outcomes. 

Our experts in global health, NCDs and communication science work collaboratively to design and leverage a myriad of innovative communication messages, campaigns, interventions, programs and tools. Guided by best practices in communication research, we engage communities in assessing and addressing the risk factors influencing their health. Through understanding communities and working with them to co-create strategies and solutions, we are able to integrate users’ perspectives into communications that are backed by evidence, culturally relevant, and personally motivating.

Selected Project Examples

Digital Communication Toolkit

In collaboration with academic and Non-Governmental Organizations in India, RTI conducted qualitative research to learn about health communication in India about NCDs; assessing Indians’ preferred communication channels for cancer information and the viability of online platforms to serve as digital health information hubs. Our research produced a Digital Health Communication Toolkit to enable Indian public health organizations to maximize the impact of their digital communication campaigns on cancer. RTI is collaborating with the Indian Cancer Society (ICS) – a non-governmental organization - to apply the best practices outlined in the toolkit to update ICS’s website and online digital outreach strategies.